Archive for the 'Things that make you go “Hmmm…”' Category

The Thanatos Archive

Happy New Year! Today we have a ghoulish visual treat for those of you who feel like you’re dead (or simply wish that you were) this fine New Year’s Day: an online archive of Victorian mourning photos and medical imagery to be found at Thanatos.net. Definitely one to add to the “Curious Exhibits” section of the blogroll…

Yes, it’s a paid site, but the proprietor maintains a Twitter account (which is how I found him – or, rather, he found me through my Twitter account – go figure) and a Flickr site along with a free preview collection of images.

Wealthy Israeli woman sees the future

Washington Post goes Weekly World News:

Fairy figurines fill a knickknack shelf, and paintings of fairies hang from the soft-toned walls. Statues of dolphins leap from a cream-colored carpet, and goldfish gurgle in a tank just behind a chair. A yard-long see-through candleholder with a dozen flickering votives is angled across Arison’s desk, looking like it connects to Kabbalah or the Upanishads or Area 51 or Something Larger Than Us, but which she says is there just because.

But the biggest jolt comes from the woman in the executive chair: Arison — billionaire ($2.7 by Forbes’s most recent estimate), perhaps the richest woman in the Middle East, a major force in Israeli philanthropy — claims that she can see the future.

This is much bigger than a parlor trick. In her new book published this summer in Israel, the 51-year-old Miami native says she felt the Indonesian tsunami sweeping over the land two months before it happened and sensed Hurricane Katrina pummeling New Orleans. In an interview, Arison says she also “saw the writing on the wall” before the global economic crash. Reading about Arison’s extrasensory perception makes you ache for a heads-up, maybe a blog entry or a tweet or a phone call to Brownie or Greenspan or somebody who might have helped.

Arison explains that she has finally dropped the fear that has held her back from doing more about what she has perceived. Armed with the insight gained through work with Florida-based psychiatrist Brian Weiss, a proponent of regression therapy and the exploration of (take your pick) deep memories or past lives, she says she is ready to go public with her visions and bring together her spiritual and business goals.

“Dr. Weiss told me during these meetings that one day I will have a significant role in world peace, but at that time I did not know what he was talking about and I could not cope with the idea,” Arison writes in “Birth: When the Material and Spiritual Come Together,” published in Hebrew as a hybrid memoir, corporate vision statement and collection of speeches.

Woman escapes vampires, but caught by deputies

I get emails:

Last night my shift had a wild vehicle pursuit. The chase went for over 25 miles, all over the western half of Washington County. The suspect car evaded at least one attempt at a spike strip by MSP, however one of my Deputies nailed the tires along I-70. The car came to a stop after that. Here’s where it gets interesting.

The driver turned out to be a crazed totally INSANE 55 year old female from Washington D.C. who stated she would not stop because she was running from VAMPIRES. Honest to god, true story. She’s presently in the hospital and will be going to jail after that.

At least she escaped the vampire. In a followup email, I learned the vampires were not captured.

A Mysterious Tooth Washes Ashore

during Ike’s fury and delivered to a paleontologist’s doorstep…or rather, what was left of it.

A paleontologist whose beachfront home in Texas was destroyed during Hurricane Ike has found a mammoth’s tooth in the debris.

Scientists Dorothy Sisk and Jim Westgate discovered the football-sized fossil in Sisk’s front yard in Caplen on the devastated Bolivar Peninsula.

…The 6 lb (2.7 kg) tooth, which resembles a series of boot soles or slices of bread wedged together, is most probably that of the Columbian Mammoth, a species common to North America until around 10,000 years ago, Westgate said. – MailOnline

A mysterious crate left at my door

Early in June I woke at dawn to let my dog out and found a wooden crate, the type used decades ago by a tea importer, outside the back door. The box was nearly identical to one I had found in an old barn in Ohio years earlier. The Ohio crate had contained diaries and journals of several people as well as newspapers and photographs – all from the 1890s – and a previously unknown story from author William Hope Hodgson that appeared to have been written in 1913 shortly before he left for the war that claimed his life. I had published several of the diary entries and the Hodgson story online as The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.

My dog sniffed the box outside the back porch door with a suspicious air before she walked off to do her business under the trees.

I looked around, but did not see anyone. On top of the crate was an envelope with a handwritten note inside. The writer claimed to have tracked me down and left the chest to me because of my previous interest in the contents of the other crate. I carried the crate inside with my dog following at my heels. I set it on the kitchen table. Inside I found letters, notebooks, folders holding sheaths of yellowed, typewritten manuscripts, and a photo album containing dozens of images from the 1920s and 1930s.

As my morning coffee brewed, I glanced through the contents of the folder on top. It appeared to have been a manuscript written in the style of a 1930s pulp magazine story. My first guess was, of course, that the story was fictional. But as I went through the box and read the notebooks and what appeared to be investigation reports I began to wonder. I now suspect the story referred to actual events and the unknown author wrote up the account as a fictional story. I do not know if the author ever attempted to publish his or her stories, but I suspect from the writing style they were intended for Weird Tales or another pulp horror or adventure magazine such as Weird Spicy Tales.

In the initial story, with chapters posted on Fridays (photos on Wednesdays), and in other stories, there are references to other investigations, hidden pasts, dark deeds referenced only in passing, and secret organizations. I shall do my best to fill in the blanks where possible, but those secrets might be hidden away in other crates, perhaps to be unveiled at a later date.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

Think that politicians are blood suckers?

You might get some political canvassers, armed with spikey teeth and voter registration cards knocking at your door this October 31.  Trick or Vote.

Ancient computer discovered

From The New York Times:

After a closer examination of the Antikythera Mechanism, a surviving marvel of ancient Greek technology, scientists have found that the device not only predicted solar eclipses but also organized the calendar in the four-year cycles of the Olympiad, forerunner of the modern Olympic Games.

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The new findings, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, also suggested that the mechanism’s concept originated in the colonies of Corinth, possibly Syracuse, in Sicily. The scientists said this implied a likely connection with the great Archimedes.

Archimedes, who lived in Syracuse and died in 212 B.C., invented a planetarium calculating motions of the Moon and the known planets and wrote a lost manuscript on astronomical mechanisms. Some evidence had previously linked the complex device of gears and dials to the island of Rhodes and the astronomer Hipparchos, who had made a study of irregularities in the Moon’s orbital course.

The Antikythera Mechanism, sometimes called the first analog computer, was recovered more than a century ago in the wreckage of a ship that sank off the tiny island of Antikythera, north of Crete. Earlier research showed that the device was probably built between 140 and 100 B.C.

snip

The mechanism’s connection with the Corinthians was unexpected, the researchers said, because other cargo in the shipwreck appeared to be from the eastern Mediterranean, places like Kos, Rhodes and Pergamon. The months inscribed on the instrument, they wrote, are “practically a complete match” with those on calendars from Illyria and Epirus in northwestern Greece and with the island of Corfu. Seven of the months suggest a possible link with Syracuse.

Inscriptions also showed that one of the instrument’s dials was used to record the timing of the panhellenic games, a four-year cycle that was “a common framework for chronology” by the Greeks, the researchers said.

“The mechanism still contains many mysteries,” Dr. Freeth said, citing questions about some of the remnant gears and a star almanac at the front that has confounded the experts.

It even predates DOS!

The good question down lower in the story is why the technology disappeared.

You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out

You put your right foot in, and you… oh, wait… According to the Associated Press, the most recent severed foot episode is a hoax:

British Columbia’s coroner’s office

But since the AP are being asshats, we’re gonna quote the BBC instead:

A severed “foot” in a running shoe found in Canada’s British Columbia is not human, the province’s coroners service says.

It said the remains found near Campbell River on Vancouver Island on Wednesday belonged to an animal, describing the hoax as “reprehensible”.

That’s a word for it.

Wave of Mutilation

A couple of months ago, we wrote about the running-shoe-clad severed feet that were washing ashore in the same general area in British Columbia. Evidently it continues…

…apace!

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Another human foot was found Wednesday on a British Colombia shoreline, the second this week and the sixth within a year in a bizarre mystery that has confounded police.

(My apologies for the pun; we’ll have to toe the line somewhere…)

[Update: 5:59PM PDT 19 June 2008 – This one’s a hoax.]

Boy, I wish I’d heard the elevator pitch for this one…

I imagine it went something like this:

“It’s Showgirls meets Day of the Dead.”

Yes folks, a friend of mine just sent me a link to Sony Pictures’ upcoming limited theatrical release; Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson star in…

wait for it…

Zombie Strippers

Zombie. Strippers. There really is nothing I can add.

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